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tv   Special Report With Bret Baier  FOX News  December 27, 2011 1:00am-2:00am PST

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city. he is from north carolina. it really has to be eaten to be believed. >> thanks, sherrod. got to run. >> thanks, leeann. thanksank you. >> but you'll be here. >> we'll see you tomorrow. >> the final we've been year is the homestretch for candidates before the iowa caucuses. this is "special report." >> good evening. i'm shannon bream in for bret baier. while many americans are resting from a big christmas weekend, the republicans who want to be measuring the drapes in the white house next christmas are gearing up for the big electoral test of the season. chief political correspondent karl cameron is live in des moines, iowa. good evening, carl. >> the iowa caucuses are a week from tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. local time january 3rd. iowans will arrive, they'll hear speeches from each campaign. only five minutes per campaign. that takes about an hour. then they will have the
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opportunity to cast write-in ballots for their choices. if all goes according to plan they could have as many to 120,000 to 140,000 turn out, a record, yet a small fraction of the population in iowa, and that explains the organizational hunt for caucus-goersrs right now. any candidate in a multicandidate field who gets as many as 40,000 votes could actually win it. that is why ron paul is considered a serious threat to win iowa. his devoted following is organized and energized. at just over 22%, paul leads mitt romney with 21 in the real clear politics average of polls taken before christmas. gingrich has plummeted to 14% in iowa. perry is gaining at 12%. ads resumed after a one-day christmas break. romney and perry both launched new ones today. >> it is a moral imperative for america to stop spending more money we take in. the experience of battling budgets is desperately needed in washington, and i will take
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threat. >> if washington is a problem, why trust a congressman to fix it? >> candidates used commercials, cable, social media and more debates than ever before to campaign this cycle, and did far less meeting and greeting with iowa and new hampshire voters. iowa's 2008 caucus winner mike huckabee had a mailing list of evangelicals in iowa, but this time two veterans of the last race an edge. i will say that mitt romney will end up winning it today. now, again, ron paul, because of his organization could, and that's where mitt is really at a disadvantage. he doesn't have the devotion. if the weather is good, mitt romney is in better shape. if the weather is bad, it's real tough to get out, ron paul will win. >> former pennsylvania senator rick santorum has worked the hardest. polls don't show it yet, but for several weeks as gingrich has
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fallen and people have neared their final decisions, santorum has gotten new well timed buzz, still in the field of seven only two seem organized to compete nationwide, romney and paul. only they submitted the 10,000 ballot petitions required for the super ballot in virginia in march. others didn't qualify and won't be on virginia's ballot. gingrich vowed a write-in bid, only to learn that's prohibited in his adopted state. organization is absolutely key in iowa. because there's just so few days left, who manages to rent vans and get people to the caucus places could be the deciding factor? the last thing to remember here, all the polls that have transpired, the attack ads, the debates, become less and less important in the closing days. right now about half of all likely iowa caucusgoers have made up their minds and probably won't until eight days from now.
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>> and carl, that coat will add another primary contest to its resume. >> well, we're back on the campaign trail in 2012. the coat here, something that was a hand-me-down from brit hume. first went on the presidential campaign in 1988. it's fallen apart, doesn't make it to the cleaners very often, but it's been through seven presidential campaigns. >> destined for the smithsonian. karl cameron in des moines, thank you. doug luzader reports from honolulu on how the president is repositioning himself for the 2012 presidential campaign. >> the instincts of a politician. the president barely got through the door at a marine base in hawaii before making his move. politicians and babies may be one of the oldest tricks in the
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playbook, but it makes for effective imagery, even if at one point the president end up with a mouthful. he follows his every move here. he arrived on an upnote after signing a two-month extension of the tax cut. the key for the white house is to keep the momentum going, even through a lengthy vacation. >> he stayed in town for the payroll tax fight, a clear victory, and he's take a look lo avoid shots that has him on the golf course or doing they think implies other than full attention to family or business. >> the beachfront neighborhood here represents something out of reach for most americans. republicans have been quick to hammer the president over his pension for golf. myth's campaign maintains a
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website that keeps track of each hole. undeterred, the president played on saturday and again today, but this is all we saw, not even a glimpse of the president himself, just miss motorcade going to and from the course. compare that to the obamas' church outing the very next day, where the media were given a clear shot of the entire first family and their slow walk to the door. those pictures may health department president with some independent voters who may be uneasy with newt gingrich's troubled family history and mitt romney's mormon faith. still a hawaiian vacation is not without risk. >> which is all the more reason why the president should guard his image all the more carefully because these images will come back to haunt him once it's narrowed down and the gop has their nominee selected. >> president obama meantime keeps pressing the flesh. the re-election campaign hopes next year independent voters aren't so shy around the president. if years past are any indication, we're likely to see some images of the first family
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out and about the island, but don't expect to see much of anything of the president actually playing golf. shannon? >> doug luzader live in honolulu with the president, thank you, doug. representatives for new jersey democratic senator frank lautenberg are denying that blocks played a role in the nomination of senator charles seriously's brother-in-law to a federal judgeship. kevin mcnaulty was nominated to the bench 10 days ago by the white house. some say he nominated him to court favor with schumer. a group of iranian dissidents is insisting on continued protection by the americans. jennifer griffin tells us why. >> in april dozens of iranian dissidents were killed, some run over by u.s./iraqi forces after u.s. forces handed over control of a refugee camp. now it seems the united nations and iraqi government have reached an agreement to resettle
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these 3400 iranians at camp liberty, the former u.s. military base near baghdad before helping them leave iraq where many feel without u.s. protection they will be killed. the u.s. state department welcomed the agreement which may or may not protect the dissident refugees. so who are these iranians left stateless in iraq and why does the u.s. have a responsibility for them? the group known as the mak has been based in iraq since the 1980s. saddam hussein gave them protection because they were fighting the mullahs in iran. since the u.s. military toppled saddam, the iranians have demanded iraq hand over the exiles. technically the m.e.k. is still on the state department's foreign terrorists list, because they allegedly killed six american appropriates in the die '70s. however they provided
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information for a key breakthrough for the west. when an agreement was rumored in recent days, iran reportedly fired these rockets at their encampment in iraq. >> the united states general gave a guarantee in 2003 when we invaded iraq and they surrendered their arms, heavy arms and light arms that they could have used to defend themselves. >> fox news has obtained the july 21st 2004 letter signed by u.s. army major general jeffrey miller, deputy commanding general of national forces iraq who wrote, "i'm writing to congratulate each individual living in camp ash afterraf under the fourth geneva convention." >> we asked a group of people to disarm themselves, to give away, surrender their capability of
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defending themselves, and in exchange for that we promised them, we made a commitment that we would provide for their safety and security. >> these 3400 iranians dissidents living in camp ashraf worry they'll be killed if left without u.s. protection. shannon? >> jennifer griffin live with the very latest. thank you, jennifer. still ahead, why some republicans are trying to hit the aarp right where it hurts. and up next, the possibility of a new nuclear arms race in the middle east.
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>> in world headlines, arab league monitors are scheduled to arrive later tonight in syria where at least 20 more deaths were reported today. activists say at least 275 civilians have been killed by government forces in the last week. the obama administration is considering whether to allow yemen's outgoing president to come to the u.s. for medical treatment. he was injured in an attack on his compound in june. the last month he agreed to hand over power to his vice president in exchange for immunity. iran says it wander off a foreign helicopter that came too close to naval drills over the weekend. war games are anything but fun and games for saudi arabia. correspondent david miller tells us leaders are very worried about the islamic republic. >> iranian war games underway the straight of hormuz are
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fueling tensions. the saber rattling could lead to a nuclear arms race. saudi arabia's u.s. ambassador warned earlier this month that the kingdom might pursue nuclear weapons to protect itself from longtime adversaries iran and israel, yet it's iran's push for a nuclear arsenal that could force the saudis' hands. >> the saudis want to prepare their bomb. as soon as the iranians will declare that, the saudis will respond. >> arespondsaudi arabia is prohibited from acquiring nuclear weapons, but according to one expert there's a loophole. the saudis could return to pakistan, which has the only nuclear bomb in the muslim world, and which experts say saudi arabia helped pay for. >> saudi arabia could actually legally have pakistan station nuclear weapons on its territory the way nonnuclear states like
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germany, italy, turkey and belgium have u.s. nuclear forces stationed on their territory. >> those worried about a nuclear-armed saudi arabia are also concerned about u.s. efforts to help develop a saudi civilian nuclear program. similar programs are now underway in a number of countries, including the united arab emirates, which has agreed not to make fuel that could be used for a weapon. so far the saudis have been reluctant to accept that condition. some analysts fear even if they do, it's a deal the u.s. will regret. >> i think it's a huge mistake for the united states to go ahead with these kind of agreements. it's pretty transparent why these countries want these nuclear energy programs. it's a decades-long process to acquire industrial, technical and commercial networks that they need to build, first nuclear power, but then they can turned that to nuclear weapons. we're giving them the nuclear rope they could use to hang us. >> most analysts agree that
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whatever saudi arabia's nuclear ambitions are, they don't have the technology to make a bomb anytime soon. the quickest for them for to join the nuclear club is with the health departmenthe help of. >> next to gaza. an example of somehow a short-term gain could lead to long-term political loss. >> these were supposed to be the last seconds of this woman's life. she presses the button to explode her suicide belt, and the detonator doesn't work, but staying alive has only made her more determined to blow herself up. >> i will carry my explosive belt again and turn my body into a bomb in the face zionist enemy. >> june 2005 she tried to cross into israel from gaza ready to take her own life to kill
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israelis at a local hospital. she knew the place well. doctors there treated her for severe burns. she says senshe even sent them u note. >> she was afraid or terrified of going back to the same community she came from disfigured as she was. >> back in gaza, she called a martyrs brigade who gave hitter bomb that would eventually fail. once captured at the checkpoint she was sentenced to 12 years in jail but released as part of a prisoner exchange which sent 1,000 palestinian militants home in return for one captured israeli soldier. >> i brought with me the video of when you were going to blow yourself up, of when you were caught. how do you feel watching this now? hard to watch? >> i am very proud of this. i hope time will come and i will
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live again in which i was smelling and tasting paradise. >> poverty in gaza is the norm. most people here live on less than $2 a day. the israelis make it virtually impossible to leave, meaning it is very pose militant groups to recruit. she lives on one of the nicest streets in gaza, her father owns a successful store, and still she wants to blow herself up. >> not because of the economical or life difficulties in the gaza strip. i wish that every girl in this age has a dream. for me it is a wish and will that must be achieved. >> she leaves her house every day heading for university, to train of all things to become a journalist, but her hope is to leave a very different legacy. >> coming up a bit later, what 10 years worst federal red tape could do to what one major east coast port. and next, what computer
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>> if you hit the malls to return christmas presents or use gift cards, you had plenty of company today. many retailers had big discounts and extended hours. stores are expected to ring up almost $470 billion in sales this holiday season. a pro-life group is suing the obama administration for access to records regarding its decision to give financial support to planned parenthood. new hampshire right-to-life says the department of health and human services has ignored its freedom of information request. a $1 million grant was given to family planning clinics in september despite a vote by the state's executive council to reject federal money for clinics providing abortions. some republican lawmakers sent a letter to the irs questioning the aarp's abilities
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to shield hundreds of millions of dollars in income by claiming tax exempt status. jim angle reports on how it's allegedly being done. >> republican members on the house ways and means committee want the irs to examine how the aarp rakes in revenues from medical companies that use its names. >> they're trying to manage these companies to increase their revenue. >> republican critics note aarp's income just from united healthcare skyrocketed from 2007 to 2009, even as the recession was hitting. >> from $284 million to $427 million, over a 50% increase. >> and in 2010, revenues soared to $670 million. aarp avoids taxes on that and other income by classifying it as royalties, also known as passive income. a longtime democratic tax lawyer says the nonprofit group the sierra club offers a perfect example of passive income.
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>> the sierra club in effect simply makes its mailing lists available to other charities in return for royalty. i don't have any problem with that. >> critics say aarp's dealing with united healthcare is different, pointing to many examples, one of which shows that they may approve, modify on a line by line basis or provide specific direction to united. >> they're exerting a lot of day to day control over these businesses. >> the kinds of hands-on relationships that it has with its supposedly arm's length insurance companies are hardly passive. >> if not, the income would be taxable. the biggest share of revenues come from united supplemental policies. >> help protect yourself from some of what medicare doesn't pay and save up to thousands of dollars in potential out-of-pocket expenses. >> though aarp did not make anyone available for an
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interview it did send a letter, saying its supplemental plans "help many of the sickest and disadvantaged seniors who would otherwise be denied insurance by accepting more than 99% of applicants which is far higher than the market standard." critics note however that aarp supported $500 billion in cuts to medicare as part of the new healthcare law, which made it all the more likely people would need supplemental insurance. >> that move alone as seniors begin to go to medigap insurance increases aarp's revenue over a ten-year period by $1 billion. we think that's a little bit suspicious. >> aarp says its chief goal is upholding its standard, saying "we have spent more than five decades proving our commitment to helping older americans obtain quality affordable health, so of course we take seriously how others use our name."
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critics argue the group's hands-on other companies far exceeds the arm's length relationship required for tax exempt status. shannon? >> thank you. the grapevine is taking a christmas break today. up next, one major eastern port city is trying to get a break from the federal government.
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>> one major east coast port is racing against the clock to make
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much-needed changes. senior national correspondent john roberts tells us what the changes are and why the clock is ticking in winning the race. >> it is an enormous employment driver in the state of south carolina, directly or indirectly supporting one in five jobs, but the port of charleston is at risk of falling behind. >> if the port loses its competitive edge, if it loses its abilities to accept shipping as shipping is going to change, then our whole economy comes to a standstill. >> charleston is racing to deepen its harbor to handle the huge ships that will start coming through the newly expanded panama canal in 2014. they're double the size of these ships. but state officials were shocked when the army corps of engineers which would do the work told them if it even got the green light it wouldn't be finished until 2024, a decade later. >> what we said is with respect to them, we need to do it faster. >> charleston is in a fierce competition with nearby savannah, georgia, to upgrade its port.
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south carolina officials claim charleston harbor is cheaper and easier to dredge. >> i've spoken with the president about it. it's a very important infrastructure investment that makes our country more competitive and obviously it makes charleston and the port of charleston more competitive. >> but before one spoonful of mud is dredged, the army corps has to study in peer review all the imp cases, the environmental impact, shoreline and channel dynamics, saltwater intrusion of the rivers, oxygen content of the waters and its effect on fish. that could take up to eight years. >> we need to move as quickly as wwe can and be as thorough as we can. >> to state officials it makes no sense. charleston just went through the whole process a few years ago to add 5 feet to the harbor's depth. why spend all the time and money all over again? >> we believe the process can be
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done faster. that's the operative message. we need to move as long as fast as we can or the region will suffer. >> the other problem is funding. there was no money in the president's 2012 budget to study the port's deepening, so lindsey graham cut a deal to put more money in the omnibus spending bill. >> we're a red state in south carolina. it's no accident we weren't in obama's budget. >> south carolina officials complain that the administration has dropped the ball on improving america's export capacity, particularly with the renaissance in manufacturing here. the panama canal expansion will be completed in two years, yet we still don't have a national strategy for how to take advantage of it. in atlanta, john roberts, fox news. >> as businesses and consumers depend more and more on computers to manage their finances, hackers are taking advantage of the dependence to further their causes. here's one example tonight. good evening, doug.
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>> good evening, shannon. this came in the form of a hack. thousands of subscribers and clients woke up christmas morning to find their credit card information compromised, and some of their accounts looted by anonymous. the attacks were placed on december 24th, then two days later someone claiming to be part of the anonymous consortium, boasted in an internet blog of stealing the quiet list and 4,000 credit card numbers with a goal of withdrawing a million dollars and depositing it in the accounts of charities, including the red cross, care and save the children. >> what's impairings here of whs a security think tank, and you'd think they'd do a better job protecting data. >> thousands of clients learned of the breach by email last night.
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>> the head of central intelligence says the cyber war has already begun, and america is losing. so there are a number of steps that i don't think we have taken yet that we need to take. not just within the military. that's only part of it, but it's within our entire civilian society and infrastructure. we are extremely vulnerable. >> anonymous claims that friday's breach is the first installment of a bigger release of confidential data. in a posting it said not as many as you expected? worry not, fellow pirates and robin hoods, these are just the as. it promises to release 200 gigabytes of stolen information in the coming week. it's cooperating with law enforcement in the difficult task to track down the source of the breach. >> it's very difficult to trace that back because of the way that the cyber cat burglars in a certain sort of way are able to cover their tracks through any number of servers around the world. >> now there's word that anonymous plans to target those
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victims who spoke out in the news media about the breach by withdrawing more money from their accounts. shannon? >> thank you, doug. north korea's new leader today welcomed a private south korean mourning delegation. the south koreans are paying their respects to jim jong-il who died last week. his son has been given another title. there were scuffles today in the south between protesters for and against the north korean regime. a report on japan's nuclear disaster says the response was confused and riddled with problems. the report says authorities grossly underestimated the risk from the tsunami that led to the world's worst nuclear accident since chernobyl. we'll talk about the latest in the 2012 campaign when the fox all-stars join us after the fox all-stars join us after the capital one's new cash rewards card gives you a 50 percent annual bonus. so you earn 50 percent more cash. if you're not satisfied with 50% more cash, send it back! i'll be right here, waiting for it. who wouldn't want more cash?
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[ insects chirping ] i'll take it. i'll make it rain up in here. [ male announcer ] the new capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. what's in your wallet? sorry i'll clean this up. shouldn't have made it rain.
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>> i would probably say that mitt romney will end up winning it today. now, i think, again, ron paul,
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because of his organization could, and that's where mitt is really at a disadvantage. he doesn't have the devotion. if the weather is good, mitt romney is in better shape. if the weather is bad, and it's real tough to get out, ron paul will win. >> former arkansas governor mike huckabee, the man who won the iowa caucus back in 2008, making predictions for this time around. let's talk about it with our panel. steve hayes, amy studdard and charles krauthammer. hope you had a nice holiday weekend. thanks for joining us. steve, i'll start with you. ron paul, the buzz is about how he's continued to climb in the polls in iowa, but a large segment is saying they're undecide. what are your projections? >> it suggests it's still a fluid race. i agree with governor huckabee. when i was out in iowa a little over a week ago, interviewing paul county coordinators, i think from plymouth county, said
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to me if there's a blizzard on caucus day, he's find a way to get them there. paul has an intensely loyal group of people backing him, and he's got a greater number. the real question is, how much will these newsletters that we've been talking about quite a bit in washington have an effect on his campaign out there. i think it's hard to say, but there aren't many-n as of yet that it's having a real impact on either the intensity or loyalty his supporters or how he's planning to run his operation to january 3rd. >> you refer to newsletters put out under his name, things like ron paul's investment letter. his name was on the masthead back in the '80s and '90s, comments that are clearly racist, that he says he didn't write them, and most of them he
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didn't read also, but on friday he did make comments that sounded like they equated to an apology saying he should have been more aware of what was going on. will that seal the deal? >> well, he's a little too familiar with content for someone who didn't write them, but i think for any other candidate this would be damaging, and i think for ron paul supporters who don't want to regulate sour milk or air traffic safety or cars or medicine, they're with him. this won't change their mind. they'll probably buy his comments distancing himself from those newsletters. if you support ron paul, you're either a total believer in ron paul and believe he can win the nomination. if not, you'll vote for ron paul, because this is a protest vote, you don't like the field. this isn't disqualifying to either of those groups of people. i think it's probably true, the non-ron paul vote is so split, that maybe romney is doing
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better, but i would still say that ron paul wins by at least a small amount. >> across the board, charles, people acknowledge that he has what he takes, people on the ground. is that enough come caucus day next u.s.? >> from what the polls are telling us it's ron paul and romney in the lead with gingrich fading a bit in iowa under the barrage of negative ads. the question is, can ron paul add to his base? i think the revelations about the newsletters will not affect his base. his base probably knows about it and doesn't care one way or another. it's a question of whether can town hall expand the base in the final days to overtake romney. there it might have an evening. the reason is if you're an undecided voter, you're looking at this, it's one thing to believe he didn't write what ended up under his name, it's another to believe that he
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didn't read it, what was in his own newsletter, which implies either that he's not telling the truth, or if he is that he was running his own enterprise in a way that way that doesn't reflect well on someone that wants to run the united states of america. >> you mentioned newt gingrich. at one point, not long ago, he was atop the polls in iowa. now he got a blow this weekend when he found out he did not qualify to be on the primary ballot in virginia. you need 10,000 signatures. you need 400 signatures from all 11 congressional districts, and only the people who are out collecting signatures for you, they have to be residents of virginia. you can't hire a team to send in. he didn't make it. rick perry didn't. several others didn't even try. steve, what does it say? is it more about virginia or does it tell us more about newt gingrich and whether he's organized enough to win? >> a little bit of both. virginia's requirements are higher than any other state in the union. it does say something about newt gingrich. it makes you wonder about how serious was he running for president from the get-go.
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sit down, imagine you decide to run for president, you talk about ads, fundraising, but ballot access has to be one of the first discussions that you have. if you haven't done that, especially in the state that's your adopted home state for this long, and they're scrambling at the end, i mean i think that suggests something about both the current state of his organization and also the amount of preparation that went into his bid. >> well, amy, do you think it gives the romney camp that added fuel? were they making the accusations all along, he can make great speeches, but doesn't have the organization to run his campaign in a nonconventional way. >> well, it's not working for him. he's slipping in the polls in the state that he lives n. it doesn't make anyone like mitt romney more, but if you're on the fence about newt gingrich, if you like the fact that he came back, but you're wondering about his answers on freddie mac, you're concerned about some
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comments he made about, you know, mitt romney returning his earnings from bain capital, etc., if you're still on the fence about him, you do wonder how much he intended to actually run for the presidency. was he really running a presidential campaign, planning for the nomination, planning for the general election, or was he just trying to elevate his stature within the party so he could return to his lucrative businesses, etc. if you're on the fence about ron paul, you're considering a protest vote. if you were on the fence about newt gingrich, you probably thought he was a real choice, and this might concern you that he wasn't ready for a real campaign. >> they're taking heat as well because there's been an analogy within the campaign to pearl harbor, that that was the equivalent of the shocker they got, not being on the ballot in virginia. his national campaign director said on the website, newt and i agree that the analogy is
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december 1941, and we will refocus with recommitment and positive action, ups and downs, successes and failures, easy victories and difficult days, but in the end we will stand victorious. charles, comparing it to an event in which thousands of people died, you know, they always have to have historical reference, but how careful should they be with this? >> i don't think the analogy does justice to the enormity of newt. newt is going pick up the crown of the last king of the saxons and lead a band of sacksons fueled with money from freddie mac and will retake britain and change history. that kind of analogy captures the cosmic importance of the
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newt campaign. look, you can't really -- it's hard to make a pairivity newt in the way he imagination himself. even if he thinks it's pearl harbor, you don't say it out in public. you don't have your national campaign director trumpet it. it compares a bit of the grandiosity of newt. >> they said they would try to launch a write-in campaign, a legal battle, but need the ballots 45 days in advance to go overseas. what's newt's next move? >> i'm almost as troubled to their response to the denial of ballot access as i am to the denial itself. they send out a press release immediately after they get the bad news from the standpoint of their campaign and submit they'll launch an aggressive
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write-in campaign. election law doesn't allow you to do. it suggests a campaign in disarray. it's not a good sign for newt gingrich. >> final word, amy? >> if he wants to win iowa, which comes before virginia, he needs to start talking about jobs and stop talking about mistakes in the campaign, denying that he got caught. he needs to win votes next tuesday. >> that's it for 2012 for now. panel, thank you very much. up next, the political turmoil in iraq.
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>> now these people are in a camp where they are defenseless, and the united states troops have pulled out with the result that they are now at the mercy
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of the iraqi government which is really doing the bidding of the iranian government. they've attacked them twice. both times when the u.s., then u.s. secretary of defense bob gates, was in country. >> iranian dissidents actually live in iraq, and they're losing their space where they've felt protected and moving elsewhere. let's talk about it with our panel. this camp ashraf situation is delicate. >> this will put us in a terrible position, because we will get dragged into it. the u.s. government is trying to continue to partner with iraq to secure -- for their own security, but we're trying at the same time to stay out of the sectarian tension and political chaos that is mounting there. we find the prime minister now,
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he wants these people out. they'll be moved to a former u.s. base, and there's no final home. there's plans for a transfer, or what they call resettlement, without u.s. troops, u.n. monitors, everyone is concerned they won't be safe there, there will be violence, do the residents of the camp even want to be moved to the interim place. he's defending the sovereignty of iran throughout. this is going to be a mess, and we will find ourselves having to take a side, and it's going to be a very tough situation as we try to that i can kind of handsoff -- try to take this kind of hands-off approach whenever trouble erupts in iraq as it did within days of us leaving. >> and this ramp is inside iraq, 50 miles from the iranian had border. the u.s. had an understanding for protection for these folks, steve. >> this is one of the reasons this is such a problem.
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there's a human tragedy element to it, and also the political implications. the human tragedy is obvious. if we don't protect them, they could be the victim of collusion between these two governments. that would be tragic. on the political side of thing, the united states unfortunately has a history doing this in iraq. i mean, remember back to 1991 when george h.w. bush went on the radio, and people throughout the country heard him, rise up against your government, we've got your backs, the shiites and kurds did this in the north, and we walked away from them. we can't do this. if we want people to act on our own interests and our perceived interests, we need to keep our word when we ask people to do things for us and we make a promise. in this case we're not keeping a promise. >> the prime minister said we're not going to hand them over to iran, but their presence here is illegal and illegitimate. >> it's another event we're seeing as a result of the full evacuation that obama decided on
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against the generals who wanted a residual force in iraq that would be a counterweight to iranian influence. this is entirely iranian influence. the group that we're talking about have helped us. they are the ones that revealed the information about the secret enrichment, they have agents inside of iran, and are now defenseless. why we keep them on the terror list, i don't understand. they've not engaged in terror for over 15 years, 30 year, and not against the united states. they're an asset. as we heard in the report earlier in the show, we've given them written assurances of protection in return for them turning in their weaponry, of which they had. so it's a matter of honor, strategic necessity. the least that we can do is to get them into these camps away from the border with iran, where iran actually is shelling them
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occasionally. and to help them resettle, but you can't do that. they're officially listed as terrorists, so we have to take them off the list and at the least resettle them. >> and steve, more broadly overall the environment in iraq, a lot of violence in the last few days. >> yeah. iraq is falling people. there's no way to dress it up. that's what's happening. this is the logical consequence of three years of neglect. that's what happened with the obama administration. phone calls from the iraqi leaders went unreturned, requests unfulfilled. and then senator barack obama who ran against iraq, wasn't interested, called it the dumb warnings and as president handed it off to his vice president who believed that iraq should be partitioned and split into three different countries. unfortunately we're looking at a
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situation that it's hard to imagine getting better. you've seen this kind of violence and it's hard to imagine it getting better, and probably will get significantly worse over the spring. >> it is true, now that we're gone, iran will continue to mettle. there's all this sunni attention that we've lost our leverage, however leaving iraq remains popular with the american people. as things deteriorate throughout 2012, as we expect them to, there will be a debate about whether or not that was the right thing to do. at this moment president obama receives high approval for leaving completely, so we'll see if it changes at all. >> i suspect history be a lot less kind -- the tragedy here is that he was handed a one-war surge that exceeded even the shiite government had taken on the shiite militias and destroyed them. we had a country that had an election that had representation of sunnies and kurds and
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shiites. in three years, this administration had one task, work out an arrangement where at least america remains in a noncombat role as we were for the last year and a half to exert pressure and we do not do that. to have a one-war kicked away as a result is truly tragic. >> all right, panel. thank you very much. that's it for the panel. but stay tuned. the president pledged to stay right here in washington until that payroll tax cut fight was settled, but we've uncovered evidence that's brand new that he may snot kept his promise. that's next.
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[♪...] [click-click] >> shannon: finally tonight, as you know, president obama said he would stay right here in washington until lawmakers settled their fight over the payroll tax cut. well, we have found some evidence that may prove he may have left town early. >> with respect to my vacation, i would not ask anybody to do anybody something i'm not willing to do myself. i know some of you might have been looking forward to sun and sand. the bottom line is that we are going to stay here as long as it takes to make sure that the american people's taxes don't go up on january 1st and make sure that folks -- >> shannon: you don't know


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